Make sure the voices of animals are heard in the Trade Policy Review
The COVID-19 crisis has painfully put the spotlight on the detrimental impact of economic and trade policies that prioritise profits above all. Now is our chance to profoundly rethink EU trade policy and make it fit for the 21st century, adapted to face all the challenges of our times, such as the spread of zoonoses, the climate crisis and antimicrobial resistance.
As animal welfare is closely linked to these challenges, part of the solution is to better address the impact of EU trade policy on animal welfare, as one dimension of sustainable development. With this Trade Policy Review, the EU must also ensure its trade policy does not counter the goals expressed in both the "Farm to Fork" and "biodiversity" strategies, and more generally the Green Deal.
As the Members of the European Parliament in their resolution commenting on the "Harnessing Globalisation" communication, we call on the EU to address explicitly its approach to animal welfare in the next Trade strategy. Better addressing the impact of trade policy on animal welfare would help build the EU's resilience, but also, as most animal welfare standards are not imposed on imported products, improve the level playing field for EU producers. In addition, as most UN SDGs will remain out of reach if animal welfare is not improved, trade policy could, by contributing to the promotion of higher animal welfare standards, help deliver on this key objective of the European Commission.
The consultation calls for written contributions to be sent before 15 November 2020.
You can find our full contribution here, but in a nutshell, how could the EU do better?
- In bilateral trade policy, the EU should (1) mainstream conditional liberalisation for animal products; (2) improve the language of provisions on animal welfare cooperation, gather them in a standalone chapter and increase resources to implement them; and (3) strengthen the Trade and Sustainable Development chapter by improving the language and improving enforcement mechanisms.
- At the WTO, the EU should include in its plan for modernisation to raise the question of sustainability, including animal welfare, and trade. It should also push for a recognition that methods-of-production that are not visible in the final product (such as animal welfare) can be used to differentiate products.